Australia & Pacifics

Death toll in Australia bushfires rises to four

14 November 2019; AFP: The death toll from devastating bushfires in eastern Australia has risen to four after a man's body was discovered in a scorched area of bushland, police said Thursday.

Three others have perished in bushfires in New South Wales, the state worst affected by a series of catastrophic fires that broke out along the eastern seaboard late last week.

New Zealand holds off further cuts to record low rates

Wellington, Nov 13 (AFP/PTI) New Zealand's central bank held interest rates at a record low on Wednesday but said it was ready to step in with stimulus to support the struggling economy.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept borrowing costs at 1.0 percent, confounding forecasts for a cut to 0.75 percent.

Officials said that since its last reduction in August economic developments "do not warrant a change to the already stimulatory monetary setting at this time", although the immediate future did not look promising.

Australians ordered to flee flames as fires rage in east and west

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian officials on Wednesday ordered residents and tourists to get out of the way of fast-approaching flames as firefighters struggled to contain more than 150 bushfires raging on both the east and west coasts.

While cooler weather overnight brought some relief for firefighters in New South Wales (NSW) state, of which Sydney is capital, attention shifted to its northern neighbour, Queensland, where more than 80 fires threatened lives and homes.

Aircraft combats Sydney blaze as Australians reel from bushfires

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Fires raged across a swathe of Australia’s east coast on Tuesday, destroying more homes and shrouding Sydney in smoke from a blaze authorities fear they will be unable to control until next week.

An aircraft was diverted to drop fire retardants on bushfires threatening homes in Sydney’s northern suburbs. Television footage showed some of the substance overshot the blaze, colouring houses and vehicles pink and red.

Norway To Gain Most From Oil Drilling Off Australian Coast

CANBERRA, Nov 11 (NNN-XINHUA) – The Norwegian Government is set to be the major beneficiary, if oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight goes ahead.

According to an analysis by think tank, The Australia Institute, while the Federal Government would reap a minimum of 7.4 billion Australian dollars (5.07 billion U.S. dollars) in petroleum taxes over 40 years, the Southern Australia (SA) state government would receive only 300 million Australian dollars (205.7 million U.S. dollars).

Australian state declares emergency due to wildfires

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s most populous state declared a state of emergency on Monday due to unprecedented wildfire danger as calls grew for Australia to take more action to counter climate change.

New South Wales state Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen.”

Fires in the state’s northeast have claimed three lives, destroyed more than 150 homes and razed more than 850,000 hectares (3,300 square miles) of forest and farmland since Friday.

Australians warned worst bushfires may be yet to come

10 November 2019; AFP: Sydney is facing a "catastrophic" fire threat, authorities said on Sunday, as firefighters in eastern Australia raced to prepare for worsening conditions after ferocious bushfires devastated communities.

Fires have killed three people and razed more than 150 homes since Friday, but cooler weather overnight provided a welcome reprieve for firefighters and residents.

2 dead, dozens injured as Australia wildfires raze homes

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Wildfires razing Australia’s drought-stricken east coast have left two people dead and several missing, more than 30 injured and over 150 homes destroyed, officials said Saturday.

Around 1,500 firefighters were battling more than 70 fires across Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, with the most intense in the northeast where flames were fanned by strong winds, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

Firefighters found a body on Saturday in a burned car near Glen Innes, he said.

New Zealand bans video game glorifying Christchurch terrorist attack

WELLINGTON, Oct 31 (NNN-AGENCIES) — New Zealand’s Chief Censor said he had banned a video game that appeared to glorify the mass shooting in Christchurch earlier this year that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

In an attack broadcast live on Facebook, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons targeted Muslims attending prayers in two Christchurch mosques on March 15, killing 51 people and wounding dozens.

Australian serial killer Milat dies in prison nearly 30 years after backpacker murders

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ivan Milat, one of Australia’s worst convicted serial killers, has died in prison after spending 23 years behind bars for the murders of seven backpackers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, authorities said on Sunday.

Milat, 74, was serving seven consecutive life sentences after being convicted in 1996 of killing two Britons, three Germans and two Australians in a case that made grim headlines around the world.

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